Gopal das Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Prabhupada Memories

Interview 01

Gopal das: Some dignitaries occasionally would come from Krsnagar to our Mayapur temple. One morning we saw some blinking police car lights coming. We thought, “Oh, some hot shot is coming out to visit.” It turned out to be the Indian secret police as at that time the Bangladesh war was going on. They got out of the cars and said they had come to arrest Americans for being spies, CIA agents. At that time there were only two of us, myself and Jayapataka. They said, “We’ll take one of you and if we can prove that you’re a spy, we’ll come and arrest the others later.” I said, “Jayapataka is more important to the Mayapur project so take me.” They put me in shackles and drove me to Krsnagar and then transported me from there to Calcutta. In Calcutta the U.S. embassy was notified that they had arrested a spy and they sent someone to act as my legal aid. We’d gone to court several times and eventually they proved that I wasn’t a spy. In the interim, however, my visa had expired. The government of India wanted to save face so they sentenced me to six months in prison. The prison had an eight by ten foot room with no toilet. There was nothing in the room except for the cement floor. Finally when I was released, Srila Prabhupada called me into his room. He of course knew about my situation and the first thing he said was, “How are you?” I said, 2 “I’m okay, Srila Prabhupada.” He asked, “Do you want to go back to America?” I said, “No, Srila Prabhupada. I want to go back to Mayapur and do my service.” He said, “That’s very good.” Then he began to tell me this story: “There was once a little boy who had a terrible father, who in so many ways became envious of him because he was a devotee of Krishna. He tried in so many ways to torture him and to change his way of behaving.” I realized he was talking about Prahlad Maharaj. Prabhupada said, “Yes, the devotees of Krishna are willing to go to hell.” To know that even though Srila Prabhupada was not present, he was always thinking of his devotees wherever they were in the world. In the Srimad Bhagavatam at that time he mentioned that his disciples were being arrested. He didn’t use my name but the circumstances were such that I knew that in the middle of the night doing his translations he was having concern for his disciples.

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